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Nov. 18 2017 12:15 PM

Conservative Activist Perkins Reportedly Covered Up Sexual Assault Against Teenager

The head of the Family Research Council allegedly kept quiet about claims that an Ohio Republican lawmaker assaulted a teenage boy in a hotel two years ago. Perkins was told that then-candidate for the Ohio legislature Wesley Goodman’s allegedly fondled of a supporter’s son during a conference in Washington, according to the Washington Post.

“If we endorse these types of individuals, then it would seem our whole weekend together was nothing more than a charade,” the boy’s stepfather wrote to Perkins, head of the Council for National Policy, to demand action. Perkins replied that “this will not be ignored nor swept aside” but he did say the issue would be “dealt … with prudence.” The apparent actions by Goodman apparently didn’t come as a surprise to Perkins who referred to “similar incidents” in a letter. Perkins called on Goodman to step down from the race, but he continued and eventually won a seat in the legislature in November.

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Goodman, now 33, resigned his seat earlier this week after state lawmakers learned about “inappropriate behavior related to his state office,” according to Ohio’s House speaker. Goodman, who is married and repeatedly touted his faith and anti-LGBT views, was reportedly seen having sex with a man in his office. Emails and documents reviewed by the Washington Post “show a small circle of people discussed the complaints about Goodman before he went on to later misconduct at the statehouse,” notes the paper.

Perkins refused to comment but Goodman supporters expressed anger that they were kept in the dark about something that seems to have been a bit of an open secret among some conservatives. “We are so sick of people knowing and doing nothing. If someone knew, they had an obligation to say something. That’s what you do. That’s how you hold society together,” said Thomas R. Zawistowski, president of Ohio Citizens PAC, a conservative group that endorsed Goodman.

Nov. 18 2017 11:25 AM

Trump Puts Decision to Allow Big Game Trophy Imports on Hold

After lots of criticism from around the world, President Donald Trump said Friday night that he would hold off on a reversal of a policy that would have allowed hunters to bring back trophies of elephants. “Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The reversal comes after the United States allowed hunters who kill elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia to bring trophies back to the country, a decision that outraged animal rights activists and even some conservatives. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confirmed the news and said that “the issuing of permits is put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”

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Days earlier, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had touted the rule change as a way to promote conservation. But the move quickly raised opposition even from traditional Trump supporters. Fox News host Laura Ingraham, for example, wondered whether reversing the ban would “increase the gruesome poaching of elephants.”

Trump congratulated himself on the decision Saturday morning by retweeting two supportive messages from television personalities, one from Greta van Susteren and another from Piers Morgan. Earlier in the week, Morgan wrote a column for the Daily Mail sharply criticizing Trump for the decision to reverse the ban.

Nov. 17 2017 6:50 PM

Today in Conservative Media: Mike Pence Was Right About Being Alone With Women

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A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Sexual misconduct continued to dominate discourse on the right on Friday. National Review’s David French argued that the recent wave of controversies suggests the wisdom of the Pence Rule against dining alone with women:

[W]hen men and women are alone — especially at night, especially with drinks — there is a far greater chance of mutual or one-sided attraction (not assault) than when they’re in groups or in professional settings. Even if they don’t intend the attraction. Even if they’re happily married. If you doubt this reality then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Spend any time in professional settings, and you’ll understand that workplace attraction happens, and when it happens it tends to happen not in the midst of conference calls but rather in those settings that get far more personal and less professional.
Second, variations of the Pence rule protect both sides from reputational harm. It’s a simple fact that observing a married man alone at dinner with a woman other than his wife can start tongues wagging, and it’s also a fact that leaders of Christian ministries have often had to take extreme measures to protect against intentional sabotage of their reputations. I know leaders who never travel alone in part because of actual past hostile attempts to place them in compromising positions (with photographic evidence). If we should understand anything in 2017 it’s that our politics is vicious and poisonous. The more high-profile you become, the more careful you should be.
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Rush Limbaugh argued that relations between men and women are becoming as tense as race relations:

I’m just spotting a trend, and I know you have too. I’m sure I’m not the only person in this crowd. But you know, this business of sexual abuse is quickly approaching the same dynamics as racism in our culture.
And just as racism is a horrible thing to be accused of, and depending on how it’s done it’s sometimes hard to disprove it, it’s the same thing here with being accused of all kinds of improper behavior against women, especially blind allegations, they can be really tough to defend, especially the way the table is being set today. That women never make it up, that women don’t lie about it, that women must be believed. This is not an anti-woman screed. Now, don’t anybody misunderstand me here.
I’m addressing this as though we’re all human beings. Forget sex, gender, and all of that. I’m just assessing where our culture is going. And it’s because of the politicization of everything, because we have politicized relationships now. We have politicized the way men and women interact.

The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra wrote a post about images purporting to show Joe Biden touching people inappropriately while being photographed that have circulated on Twitter.

“Imagine for a moment what the media's reaction would be if the following photos and videos featured President Trump instead of Biden,” he wrote. “Those video clips and photographs represent only a fraction of the content available on the internet that clearly shows a disturbing pattern of behavior by the former vice president which the Democrats have continued to ignore.”

NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock criticized MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski for belatedly calling Bill Clinton a “predator.” “The Morning Joe co-host declared, ‘I think the days of sort of tip-toeing around the Clintons are over and I'm fine with it,’” he wrote. “Too bad that journalists weren’t this shocked at Bill Clinton when he was actually running for president in 1992 or running for reelection as president in 1996. Better late than never?”

In other news:

Several outlets wrote posts about an exchange between Sarah Huckabee Sanders and reporter April Ryan during Friday’s White House press briefing. The Daily Caller’s item, by new reporter at large Benny Johnson, was titled “Sarah Sanders Asked About Hillary Condemning Trump’s Sexual Behavior—Her Response Is a Flamethrower”:

The president has vociferously denied any wrongdoing. During Friday’s briefing, Sanders was asked about Trump’s 2016 presidential adversary, Hillary Clinton, weighing in on the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Clinton ominously said in a recent interview that she “worries” about Trump’s behavior from his past “because it tells you how he behaves in the present and will in the future.”
When a reporter asked Sanders to comment on Hillary’s critique of the president’s alleged sexual behavior Sanders shut down the question cold, saying, “I think Hillary Clinton probably should have dealt with some of those of her own issues before addressing this president.”
Scorcher.

“It was a lob ball, the Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft wrote, “and Sanders hit it out of the park.”

Nov. 17 2017 4:11 PM

Trump Nominee Brett Talley Seems to Have Called Same-Sex Marriage An “Absurd Constitutional Argument”

Brett Talley, whom Donald Trump has nominated for a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary, appears to have expressed a series of bizarre and tendentious opinions on the website TideFans.com. BuzzFeed has reported that Talley seems to have written 16,381 posts over 12 years under the username BamainBoston. He identified himself by linking to a 2014 Washington Post profile of Talley under the subject line, Washington Post Did A Feature On Me. In that profile, Talley declared his personal opposition to same-sex marriage. Five months later, BamainBoston asserted his vehement opposition to constitutional equality for same-sex couples in a series of posts on TideFans.com.

“It’s an absurd constitutional argument that the court is going to accept anyway,” BamainBoston wrote in May 2015, addressing the argument, then pending before the Supreme Court, that same-sex couples hold a right to marry under the 14th Amendment. “Can the states have gay marriage? Sure. Does the constitution require it? Of course not.” He later clarified:

[W]hy does the state have to permit gay marriage in the first place? What is the reason that this particular kind of relationship should have those attendant rights? Friendships don’t get them. Your mistress isn’t entitled to your SSI benefits, even if you love her more. What about people who don’t believe in state marriage? Who are in open relationships? Or are in a polygamous relationship where one of the wives is the official state sanctioned one and the others are not to avoid bigamy laws?

BamainBoston could easily find an answer to this question in Loving v. Virginia, in which the Supreme Court invalidated interracial marriage bans. The court held that marriage is a fundamental right protected by the liberty component of the Due Process Clause. It then explained that, under the Equal Protection Clause, the government may not deprive individuals of fundamental rights on the basis of some arbitrary or invidious classification.

Nov. 17 2017 1:42 PM

Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Inadvertently Announces He Made Love to Senator Bob Taft in a Hayloft

Ohio Supreme Court justice Bill O'Neill announced in late October that he is running for the Democratic nomination in next year's state governor's race. On Friday, he made an equally important announcement: That he has done the nasty with so many smokin' hot babes you wouldn't believe it. No—really:

Several highlights here.

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1. "It is time to speak up on behalf of all heterosexual males." Factcheck: True. Heterosexual males have gone too long without having a platform in politics.

2. The ambiguous phrasing of the fourth sentence can be read to suggest that Bill O'Neill's sexual conquests include both "a gorgeous personal secretary" and "Senator Bob Taft (Senior)," to whom he made passionate love in a barn. Attaboy, Bill! (Incidentally, I think he means Bob Taft Jr., because Bob Taft Sr. died in 1953 and Bill O'Neill was born in 1947.)

3. O'Neill has since edited the post ... but only to remove its references to Taft and late Progressive Insurance CEO Peter Lewis. The insane parts about describing his sex achievements as if they are related to reporting on assault and harassment remain intact.

Bill O'Neill '18!

Nov. 17 2017 11:04 AM

Navy Apologizes, for Some Reason, for Using Airplane to Draw Majestic Penis in the Sky

An upsetting story out of Washington state as pushover Navy administrators have been pressured into condemning the hero aviators who used airplane contrails to draw a hilarious penis on the canvas of the heavens:

In a statement to KREM 2 News navy officials said, "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable."
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Boooooo!!! Also booooooooo to this woman:

A mother who lives in Okanogan who took pictures of the drawings reached out to KREM 2 to complain about the images, saying she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were.

"It's a penis." That's the explanation! The kids will be able to handle it.

Nov. 17 2017 12:16 AM

Jaylen Brown Leads Celtics to Win Over Warriors After Death of His Best Friend Trevin Steede

On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics beat the Golden State Warriors 92-88 for their 14th win in a row. While the crowd in Boston chanted “M-V-P” for Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown was the Celtics’ best player, scoring 22 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and playing great defense against the Warriors’ Kevin Durant. After the game, Brown told reporters that he’d played on Thursday despite the death of his best friend and high school teammate Trevin Steede.

Nov. 16 2017 10:14 PM

Today in Conservative Media: Let’s Be Frank About Franken

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A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservatives weighed in on the sexual assault allegation against Democratic Sen. Al Franken on Thursday. “As we’ve been bringing to you, the most obnoxious, arrogant liberal senator currently (dis)serving in the Senate, Al “Stuart Smalley” Franken, has been caught with his hands in the cookie jar,” RedState’s Susan Wright wrote. “While Franken has apologized [and] attempted to reason away the occurrence “not being how he remembered it,” it’s a pleasant surprise to see that, for once, liberal celebrities are not circling the wagons around one of their own, but are calling him out for his atrocious behavior.” Rush Limbaugh speculated about the Democrats’ next moves:

What will the Democrats do? I think what they’re gonna do is try to pretend this isn’t happening. The smart thing for them to do would be to get rid of Franken, have the governor in Minnesota appoint a Democrat to replace him. You don’t miss or lose a seat this way. And in so doing you make yourself bulletproof in your effort to get rid of Roy Moore. You make yourself bulletproof in your effort to get rid of Trump.
But if they go in the other direction and try to protect and harbor a man accused of sexual harassment with a photo to prove it, if they try to save that guy, if they try to harbor him, keep him there by running out the clock or by relying on the media to not report it, which I think they might do, I think they might have full confidence that the media will ignore this, stay focused on Moore, say stay focused on Trump, say focused on anything and just ignore the Franken circumstance.
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National Review’s Kevin Williamson weighed Franken against other imperfect well-known men:

In the case of great men, we have to consider their careers whole. Gandhi had some very weird personal habits and a lot of very stupid ideas about politics and economics, but he was right about his One Big Thing. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., too. We are lucky that Jefferson wasn’t as influential as he might have been among the Founding Fathers, given that he harbored some truly insane political ideas. It’s a difficult thing to do, which is why good historians and good biographers are so valuable.
Happily, in the case of Senator Al Franken, we don’t really have to do very much of that. He’s a putz. He was a putz before that leering picture of him groping a sleeping woman came out. Some of our Democratic friends have been reconsidering their apologizing and excuse-making for Bill Clinton. (More joy in Heaven and all that—but the timing sure is convenient.) If it is the case, as Matthew Yglesias argues, that Bill Clinton should have resigned in disgrace over his gross but consensual exploitation of a young White House intern, what should Franken do?

In other news:

Conservatives responded to a new Fox poll showing Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore well behind Democrat Doug Jones following multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Moore. “Moore is behind by 8 points among likely voters in a state so red the Democrats didn’t even bother running a challenger to now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2014,” RedState’s Andrea Ruth wrote. “With Moore and his supporters’ consistent refrain being about how important the Alabama Senate seat is for Republicans, one has to ask if there is any politician more selfish than Roy Moore right now?” Hot Air’s Allahpundit was skeptical of the poll’s results:

Moore’s wrecked, right? Well, hold on. His favorable rating in this poll among likely voters is a feeble 43/50. *Barack Obama’s* favorable rating is … 52/45. Trump’s is just 49/48. Show of hands: Who thinks Obama is more popular in Alabama than Roy Moore or Donald Trump? Another odd result has Luther Strange polling worse against Doug Jones than Moore does, trailing Jones 48/38 among likely voters compared to Moore’s 50/42 mark. I can believe that some stalwart Moore supporters would boycott an election if Strange were inserted as a last-minute replacement nominee, but if Moore’s alleged misbehavior with teenaged girls is scaring Republican voters away, Strange shouldn’t be doing worse than he is statewide. In any case, the question is academic; Strange isn’t going to be subbed in for Moore and he won’t mount a write-in campaign that will do nothing except ensure Jones’s victory by splitting the Republican vote.
So what’s going on here? How did Fox get numbers that show Barack Obama outpolling Trump in Alabama? Daily Kos, which should be cheering this result on, is suspicious of it as well. It could be that Fox’s pollsters are overestimating how blue the Alabama electorate will be on Election Day. Granted, Democrats there will be out in force to rebuke Moore and try to steal a seat, but Fox’s sample has it 48R/42D, just a six-point spread in a very red state. It’s quite possible that their likely-voter model is simply too blue. But don’t discount the results entirely: Their *registered voter* model is a more plausible 48R/39D, yet Jones leads Moore by an even wider margin there — 49/40. Either way, any poll that has the Democrat at or close to 50 percent is frightening for Republicans.

Nov. 16 2017 8:55 PM

Keystone Pipeline Leak Spills 210,000 Gallons of Oil in South Dakota

The Keystone pipeline leaked some 210,000 gallons of oil in northeast South Dakota Thursday morning. The spill is the latest in a series of mishaps in the 2,687-mile pipeline system that transports material extracted from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada into the Great Plains where it’s refined and stored. The Tar sands oil is thicker and sticker than other forms of oil, making it harder to clean up, according to CNN. Pipeline company TransCanada said the leak in the underground pipeline was detected around 6 a.m. and it was isolated within 15 minutes. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the leak was in a grassy area or an agricultural field. It is still too early to determine if the leak contaminated the groundwater.

TransCanada released this picture of the spill site.

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The leak is the third and largest spill in the region since 2011 and comes just days before regulators in neighboring Nebraska decide whether to approve another controversial TransCanada pipeline, the Keystone XL. “Opponents of Keystone XL, which is proposed to run about 1,100 miles and would become part of this same pipeline system, quickly cited Thursday’s spill as evidence of the risks posed by such pipelines, and urged Nebraska regulators to take note,” the New York Times notes. “Oil pipelines have faced greater scrutiny since thousands of protesters gathered near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota last year to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

The Nebraska Public Service Commission is expected to announce their decision on Monday.

Nov. 16 2017 5:22 PM

“I'm Not Asking Him to Step Down,” Franken’s Accuser Says

This post has been updated with recent news developments.

Leeann Tweeden, who accused Democratic Sen. Al Franken of forcing her to kiss him and later groping her when they performed together at a 2006 USO show in Afghanistan, has commented on the Franken's reaction to her story in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. “I'm not asking him to step down as senator,” Tweeden said. “I just wanted him to apologize to me for that.” She also said that she'd accepted both of Franken's apologies, and added that his second, longer statement "did seem heartfelt, and I believe it."

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Tweeden, a former cover model and actress who is now a radio anchor in Los Angeles, recounted the allegations in an essay published Thursday morning. In it, she says she had expected to be an emcee at the USO event, which Franken, a comedian famous from Saturday Night Live who was later elected to the Senate from Minnesota, was headlining. But Franken had written a part for her in one of his skits in which he and Tweeden kissed.

On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL … we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.

Tweeden writes that later, when she had returned to the U.S., she was looking through a CD of pictures from the trip when she found the photo, shown above, of Franken groping her while she was asleep on a plane back from Afghanistan. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated,” she writes.

Franken first issued a vague denial Thursday morning about Tweeden’s story about the kiss.

The senator later released a longer statement in which he apologized for the “completely inappropriate” photo and mentioned that he now considers some of the jokes he told during his comedy career offensive. While he maintained that he has a different recollection of the rehearsal than Tweeden, Franken also wrote, “What people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed.”

Part of the skit with Franken and Tweeden on stage together seems to have been captured in this Salem News report.

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